AMES — Iowa State men’s basketball will be without three key pieces until December.
Forward Cameron Lard and wing Zoran Talley are both suspended until December and forward Solomon Young had surgery and won’t return until mid-December at best.
The Cyclones (1-0) having two forwards out could present an issue, especially with 6-foot-10 Jeremiah Tilman and Missouri (1-0) coming to Hilton Coliseum on Friday for a 6 p.m. tipoff (Cyclones TV).
“That’s the biggest thing and probably the key to the game,” Coach Steve Prohm said. “Can we do a good job on Tilman? Obviously, he has great size and length and athleticism. They do a good job of trying to establish him in the post. We have to be physical, we have to keep a body on him, we have to really box out, and then we have to team rebound and make him uncomfortable.”
In the one game Missouri has played this season, Tilman had 16 points, five rebounds and two blocks in 26 minutes. Last season, Tilman led the Tigers in shooting percentage at 56 percent from the floor.
Iowa State isn’t totally depleted with Lard and Young out in the post. Nebraska transfer Mike Jacobson played well in his Cyclones debut, leading Iowa State in scoring and rebounding with 17 points and seven boards.
The Cyclones also have true freshman George Conditt. Conditt is a 6-foot-10 post who did some good things against Alabama State. He had five points, three rebounds and four blocks. But Tilman presents a challenge Alabama State couldn’t.
“It’s going to be a challenge for them,” Young said. “We had two post guys last year with me and Cam. They’re going to have to roll with it until we get back. I’ve talked a lot with George since he’s a freshman. I just have to keep on him to get him better.”
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Missouri will likely attack the paint a lot and to their best to get Jacobson and Conditt in foul trouble. Prohm has thought about that situation.
Six-foot-5 point guard Nick Weiler-Babb is the “in case of emergency, break glass” center.
Iowa State hadn’t practiced with him at the five as of Thursday before practice. But it sounded like it was something that was going to happen. Prohm said he’s played through that scenario in his head a few times.
Weiler-Babb said he feels confident about playing the four or five on the offensive side because as the point guard, he has to know what all the positions are supposed to do anyway. It’s the defensive side where things could get interesting.
“I feel like I can guard a four or even a five, depending on my help side if I have to guard Tilman,” Weiler-Babb said with a nervous laugh at the thought of defending Tilman. “If I get thrown in there, I might have to use a couple of fouls. I’m going to do what I have to.”
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